One of the major challenges facing rural schools is the recruitment of experienced teachers. Currently, many rural and remote schools are staffed by newly appointed or beginning teachers who remain in these places for the minimum period of appointment, often 2 or 3 years. Drawing upon the recent sea-change phenomenon, where city residents move to coastal locations often based on a change in lifestyle (e.g., approaching retirement or escaping the 'rat-race'), this chapter will explore a new and emerging group of lifestyle changers known as tree-changers. A tree-changer is a person who voluntarily relocates from a city environment to a rural or remote inland place. In particular, this chapter examines teachers in New South Wales who are tree-changers, and identifies that tree-change teachers choose to relocate to a rural place often with little researching about the services and facilities within their chosen rural place. For many teachers, they went through an adjustment process in which they used community integration strategies, including joining a number of sporting/recreational groups, interest/service clubs or community/church organisations that assisted their inclusion. Finally, some of the lived experiences of these tree-change teachers are recounted. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the concept of a rural lens and its application to systemic staffing practices and identifies policy recommendations that capitalise on the staffing potential associated with actively recruiting experienced tree-change teachers for rural and remote schools.
|Title of host publication||Demographic change in Australia's rural landscapes|
|Subtitle of host publication||Implications for society and the environment|
|Editors||Gary W. Luck, Digby Race, Rosemary Black|
|Place of Publication||Australia|
|Number of pages||23|
|Publication status||Published - 2011|